Schwerdtfeger Library News - April 2003

Schwerdtfeger Library News - April 2003

By Jean Phillips

National Library Week is observed this week, April 6-12, 2003.

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time to improving incomes and health and developing strong and happy family life.In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read!"

National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.

The libraries on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus (all 50 of them!) together, constitute one of the premier collections, both in print and electronically, in the United States. The Madison campus libraries are ranked 15th of 112 research institutions in terms of holdings and expenditures [Chronicle of Higher Education, 31 August 2001]

The sheer breadth and range of subject expertise held collectively by the University's librarians is beyond compare. We have subject specialists in all areas from meteorology and the atmospheric sciences to engineering to law to the humanities to environmental studies to medical sciences. Campus librarians are providing access to an ever increasing wealth of information in electronic formats: bibliographic indexes, electronic journals, reference works, and of course, the electronic catalog. The various subject and special libraries, like The Schwerdtfeger Library, design and create information resources and tools specific to the needs of their primary users. It is our mission to field your questions and help you select and use the appropriate tools to facilitate your education and research.

Chancellor Wiley has seen to it that the libraries of the General Library System will take the second smallest cut in the current budget crisis. This is in recognition of the key role of the Library as university infrastructure, that without it, we lose the intellectual heritage of the institution.